Professor Henry ( Hank ) Panek, head instructor at South Island Bjj is a 2nd degree Black Belt that comes from a Carlson Gracie Sr lineage under 9th Degree (Red Belt) Professor Marcus Soares (see Bio). Hank is his 16th student in Canada to receive his Black Belt in 2014 and has trained under him since 1999. In addition to holding a brown belt in Judo, Hank has been in the fitness industry for more than 40 years and is responsible for introducing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to the Cowichan Valley in 2008.
Combining his fitness expertise and Judo accomplishments, Hank's experiences have allowed him the ability to instruct Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at the highest levels.
"Our Bjj school has the right infusion of Judo and conditioning to make ours a very dominant club in every aspect of the art of fighting and self defence" starting from age 3 and up.
Professor MARCUS SOARES
9th Degree Red Belt
A direct student of Carlson Gracie Sr. and member since the first generation of the original Carlson Gracie Team (Brazil).
Founder of the Canadian Carlson Gracie Team (1997) and Father of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Canada. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu champion from 1970 to 1981. Past senior and main instructor of the Carlson Gracie Academy (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Promoted to his prestigious Red Belt (9th degree) in 2022.
Carlson Gracie is the man who ushered Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu into the modern era. The oldest son of Carlos Gracie, who founded Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Rio de Janeiro during the 1920s, Carlson reigned as world champion for thirty years covering the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s. He was never defeated in nineteen professional fights. During this time, he was also considered one of the preeminent teachers of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in the world; a reputation he holds to this day.